Who says a patient has to be sitting right smack in front of you for you to make a difference in their lives? I am the first to admit that reading a book is so much easier if the “book” is in the room with you. But you gotta’ roll with the times. Whoever thought that buying auction items online, sight unseen, would be as wildly popular as it is today. Go figure.
Years before the telemedicine era, I first learned about the power of distant healing and remote medicine from my Stanford Medical School classmate, Dr. Elisabeth Targ. A purveyor of prayer for cure, Liz taught me that therapeutic medicine can certainly be delivered outside of the office setting. Where there’s a will, and maybe a cloud, there’s a way.
Keep It Simple
This couple called from the Midwest. They were trying to conceive for close to a year without success. Both relatively young, she had been cleared by her gynecologist and he just had a semen analysis. They were told that the news wasn’t good: Although his sperm count and motility were fine, the sperm shape was out of whack. “You’re gonna need IVF” they were told. Scared to take such a big step, they called me first.
Over the phone, I reviewed a couple of things, among them, how were they timing sex to conceive and was he living “the fertile lifestyle.” In my mind, low sperm morphology in the setting of an otherwise normal semen quality suggests “toxins” like tobacco or alcohol, medical conditions like obesity or diabetes, or just taking in a poor diet. The system wants to run hard, so try not to muck it up. I had a hunch that this wasn’t all that complex, and with a few suggestions about timing sex for conception, exercise to reduce stress, eating better and taking a good antioxidant supplement, they were off and running…away from IVF. I just got the phone call recently that there’s a bun in the oven, and one made of all natural ingredients.
Another telepregnancy (fist pump)! Not sure why these are so satisfying but they are. Maybe it’s because it achieves the highest goals using the lowest technology. Trust me, telehealth technology can get pretty techy, right up there with wearable smartphones and Google Glasses. For goodness sake, I live and breathe telemedicine everyday through Healthloop (allows for regular, online tracking of surgical patients for weeks on end to make sure that they heal) and Second Opinions (allows for off line patient consultations to anyone around the world), but nothing beats a telephone for simplicity. Seems like I’m in good company here, not only with Alexander Graham Bell, but maybe even with Einstein, who said: “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.